The scent of Bavarian sausages mixes with that of pine boughs and freshly pressed cider as people snake through the year-round Halifax Farmers' Market one typical Saturday morning.

 

Customers wait in lines or steer their way around bottlenecks that have become an endearing - to some, annoying - trademark of the venerable old haunt. The low din of casual greetings and the invariable “I'm sorry” and “Excuse me” fill the brick-walled rooms as shoppers negotiate their way down the lanes.

 

But the lineups that clog the warren of alcoves and nooks are likely to become a thing of the past when the market leaves its home next year and settles into an ecologically state-of-the-art facility on Halifax's waterfront.

 

“Everyone has a sense of the market - the stone arches, the old charm and none of that will be there,” said Fred Kilcup, manager of the market.

With the charm, however, goes overcrowding and inefficient use of energy.

“The new building is getting attention worldwide . . . it's certainly at the forefront of construction issues.”

The new Seaport Market is being built near the Pier 21 historic site. It plans to open next summer, after a series of delays while organizers arranged financing.

The building - a massive 4,050 square metres, almost double the current space - is designed to provide most of its own energy through wind, solar and geothermal.

Keith Tufts, the project's Halifax-based designer, said four turbines on the structure's “green” roof will harness the wind that blows in through the mouth of the harbour to generate the bulk of the building's electricity. Solar thermal and geothermal energy will heat hot water and the building.

Rainwater will also be collected on the roof to irrigate gardens, wash the floors and flush the building's toilets. The green roof, covered in drought-tolerant plants, will shed heat in the summer, eliminating the need for air conditioning, Tufts said.

Four solar lanterns or light towers on the front of the building will bring in light and heat year-round.